Shari Redstone Is Said to Still Desire Viacom-CBS Merger

(Bloomberg) -- Shari Redstone, whose family controls Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., remains interested in merging the two media companies after a previous attempt faltered in 2016, according to a person familiar with the matter.

There are no active talks between the parties, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. Shares of both companies soared after the media website the Wrap reported Redstone is pursuing a combination of Viacom and CBS.

With major competitors such as Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc. getting bigger through multibillion-dollar deals, pressure is building on Viacom and CBS to bulk up. CBS’s main business is broadcasting, while Viacom owns popular channels like MTV. Redstone’s family company, National Amusements, holdings controlling voting stakes in both.

A time frame for a deal isn’t clear, the Wrap said. Redstone, who took over family affairs from her elderly father Sumner Redstone, dropped plans to combine the companies in December 2016 after being persuaded by CBS Chairman Les Moonves to let them forge ahead alone.

Shares of New York-based Viacom gained 9.6 percent to $33.76 at the close in New York. CBS advanced 1.8 percent to $58.83.

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